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Apple iCar won’t scare us: Daimler’s Zetsche

Daimler has nothing to fear from an Apple electric car, the chair of the international automaker told CNBC on Tuesday, but professed bemusement as to why the tech giant would want to enter the auto space.

"I do not know the strategy of Apple: it is not that easy for me to understand why they would be interested in entering the auto industry," Dieter Zetsche, the chair of Daimler since 2006 and head of its premium Mercedes-Benz car division, said from the Geneva Motor Show.

Since last month, speculation has built that Apple could produce an electric car as early as 2020. Rival tech companies such as Google have also shown interest in building electric or self-driving cars.

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So far, Apple's presence in the car space is limited to its CarPlay app that allows iPhone users to get directions, make calls, send and receive messages and listen to music from their car dashboard.

Apple Carplay
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Apple Carplay

Zetsche also hinted Tuesday that Daimler could be interested in working with Apple in the auto space.

"Whether we might work together in cooperation, or as competitors, we are open," he told CNBC from Switzerland.

"I don't see a battle, but I do see a huge opportunity by these two worlds converging between the automotive industry and the tech world on the West Coast, if you want. There are tremendous new opportunities: the connected car, the autonomous car, the very safe car: all of these opportunities are lying ahead of us, and we will exploit them in any form."

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